Once upon an urban setting with zero carbon, zero waste and renewable energy — there were happy people enjoying the greenest scene with solar farms and no cars. This story is about a futuristic city coming into existence and it’s called Masdar City.

But, for real — Masdar is scheduled to be a complete city in 2018.

In the Middle East, just outside of the capital Abu Dhabi, is an ecological city in the making by the United Arab Emirates. With the oil-rich state behind this ambitious project, Masdar City is becoming a reality.

Designed to offer a high quality of life with the lowest environmental impact

On their official website, Masdar describes their city as an emerging cleantech cluster that offers a creative and entrepreneurial atmosphere where businesses can thrive and innovation can flourish.

Sounds pretty good, eh?

Masdar, which means “the source” in Arabic, plans on being just that as well as working their expertise in sustainable urban development and design along with being the human capital development in the areas of renewable energy and clean technologies. Masdar is a subsidiary of the huge government investment vehicle Mubadala Development Company.

Set in the desert, that blazing hot sun is a clean power source for the city. Masdar’s solar farm, the largest in the Middle East, has already been built since 2009.

“It is designed to house 40,000 people, 1500 businesses and accommodate up to 50,000 commuters,” reports Environmental Graffiti, “Masdar is a small city that will be 6 square kilometers (2.3 m2).”

What are the energy efficient and sustainable features?

As mentioned, the solar farm that’s already been built? That hot desert sun is a main source of power for the city. The 10 megawatt PV solar farm generates more than required and also offers power to Abu Dhabi’s power grid.

Using a cocktail of technologies, Masdar has leading energy technology companies such as Siemens, GE and SK Energy involved in this project.

“The developers are using state of the art building materials, passive and intelligent design techniques along with ancient Islamic architectural features to achieve an unprecedented level of energy efficiency,” reports Breaking Energy, “Passive building technology accounts for 60% to 80% of Masdar City’s energy savings.”

For transportation, they’ve gone electric. This includes busses and cars. Abu Dhabi’s light rail and Metro lines will allow access to a wider metropolitan area.

With plans to recycle all their waste and use less water than other cities in the area, Masdar is taking their sustainability and energy efficient initiatives very seriously. They are working on passive cooling and intend on maximizing their use of wind power (which, to be honest, isn’t much in that region.)

Breaking Energy calls Masdar City a groundbreaking endeavor and thinks projects like this one can help advance renewable energy technology.

This part is for the skeptics

It’s true, Masdar City has been a pretty expensive project — and because the backing of it is the oil-rich state, it has really reaped the sweet benefits of those high oil prices recently.

Masdar City has a cost of $18-$19 billion, according to their site.

The Ecologist pointed out other attempts at sustainable cities like China’s Dongtan and Huangbaiyu —unfortunately, both failed to meet their goals. That being said, The Ecologist is far more optimistic about Masdar City and thinks they really have a chance to succeed.

Otherwise, we’re looking forward to a happy beginning when the official launch of Masdar City happens in 2018.


Image credit: Imredubai